Steamboat Springs The price of college keeps going up, so it was only appropriate that steer sales were way up during the Routt County Fair's junior livestock sale Saturday at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden.
Routt County youths spend months raising their animals for the fair and the annual sale, with many of the kids putting the proceeds in their college savings accounts.
The 26 steers sold fetched an average sales price of about $5,000 with total steer sales of more than $130,000. Sales were significantly higher than market rates.
"It's all about the kids," 4-H agent Tami Thurston said.
In addition to steer, turkeys, rabbits, goats, chickens, lambs and pigs were offered up to the highest bidders, which included numerous Routt County businesses.
Thurston credited the good sales with marketing efforts by the kids.
"We've been teaching them how to market themselves," she said.
Kids went door-to-door to businesses inviting them to the sale, and they were required to write letters to two new buyers asking them to come.
Alex Camilletti's grand champion steer went for $8,000. It was purchased by Collin Kelley, owner of the Carl's Tavern and Eureka Mediterranean Street Food restaurants in Steamboat Springs. Like last year, Kelley plans to serve up his winning steer at a fundraiser, with proceeds going to the 4-H scholarship fund.
Josie Meyring, an 8-year-old student at North Routt Community Charter School, was able to compete in the steer competition for the first time this year. At 42 pounds, Josie stole the show as she showed off her 1,385-pound steer to potential bidders. While raising the steer, she used a wagon each day to tote around the 25 pounds of grain used to feed her steer named Elliot.
"We have a big cattle ranch, and I love cows," Josie said.
Josie's older brother Emmitt Meyring also was selling a steer at the sale for the third year.
Their parents, Spike and Libby, manage the Round Mountain Ranch, which has purchased animals at the sale for more than 15 years.
The livestock sale means the end of the summer for Routt County youths, who soon will head back to school. It also concluded months of hard work with kids who got very close to their animals.
"She has already shed a few tears because she loves him," said Josie's mom, Libby. "It's a really hard day."
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland